Ken Staninger, Missoula son and NFL agent, loses battle with cancer

2013-01-27T06:10:00Z 2013-01-28T23:52:24Z Ken Staninger, Missoula son and NFL agent, loses battle with cancerBy FRITZ NEIGHBOR of the Missoulian
January 27, 2013 6:10 am  • 

Known only recently to be seriously ill, Ken Staninger, an NFL agent who began his successful agency in his hometown of Missoula over 30 years ago, died of cancer Saturday. He was 63 years old.

Staninger’s wife, Mary, confirmed the news Saturday evening. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August, Staninger passed away surrounded by his family at 6:42 p.m.

“We wanted to keep it quiet,” Mary Staninger said of his illness. “We wanted to let his players get through the season before telling them.

“And he thought he was going to beat it. He had such a positive attitude that he thought he was going to beat it.”

If Ken Staninger sought to avoid attention he nonetheless found plenty of support. Many of his NFL clients, including Mark Rypien, were able to get to Missoula to say their goodbyes.

“It was beautiful,” Mary said. “We were struggling, and having such a hard time, and Ken was struggling. But his friends came to say goodbye, and all his relatives came.”

Rypien, perhaps Staninger’s most high-profile client, was among those many friends. The former Washington State standout signed a large contract after his standout 1991 season that culminated in him being Super Bowl MVP.

That was Super Bowl XXVI, which Washington won 37-24 over Buffalo on Jan. 26, 1992; Staninger passed away 21 years later to the day.

Many other players made the trip to Missoula, including Brent Pease, the Griz quarterback who is offensive coordinator for the Florida Gators; Dave Dickenson, the Griz and CFL great who is the OC for the Calgary Stampeders; and Dan Carpenter, the Griz and Miami Dolphins kicker who made the NFL Pro Bowl in 2010.

“It was very sad, but very rewarding,” Mary said. “And Ken didn’t think he had that many friends. But all his friends had rallied around him and came to see him.”


Staninger was born on May 15, 1949, in Missoula.

A standout athlete whose college football career was ended by a motorcycle accident, he became a successful real-estate broker in Missoula.

Staninger started what is now called Stinger Sports Group by signing Griz center Guy Bingham, who played 14 years in the NFL.

Besides Mary, he is survived but their sons Brett and Rick, who both live in Renton, Wash., and Ryan, who lives in Portland, Ore. Mary noted that Brett and his wife just had their first son recently.

Ken Staninger also has a sister, Judy Staninger-Gurnsey, in Great Falls, and nephew Josh in Bozeman.

He is also survived by the many players he represented, like Jake Scott, an offensive lineman who won a Super Bowl with the 2006 Indianapolis Colts.

The Staningers went to that game as well as the one in which Rypien starred.

“We went to a lot of NFL games,” Mary Staninger said. “It was a fun time.”

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(14) Comments

  1. Well Armed Woman
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    Well Armed Woman - January 28, 2013 7:21 pm
    When Ken arrives at the golden gates, there is no doubt The Lord will say "Well done, Ken!"
  2. Muskratone
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    Muskratone - January 28, 2013 6:35 pm
    Gonna miss ya Ken. Few remember he was a person who started the Missoula Flying Mules Hockey Club and was its first goalie, even though he never had played the position. The hockey program in Missoula needs to thank him for his work in the mid '70's to get hockey going. He was a great inspiration and friend. I am so sad for his family and I hope he keeps making saves in heaven.
    Jim Conner
  3. Chuck Norris
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    Chuck Norris - January 27, 2013 8:34 pm
    Ken was the man, always had a smile on his face. Great family and business man, hope someone carries on in his footsteps.
  4. GaryTinkSanders
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    GaryTinkSanders - January 27, 2013 7:23 pm
    Mary I know you and your family are proud of Ken and his accomplishments, I will always remember Ken for the Class act that he was.
  5. Pistol
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    Pistol - January 27, 2013 5:43 pm
    To bad his new grandson won't have grandpa Ken as a male role model. Ken was a class act! May he rest in peace, and his family lives on with the great memories they have of him.
  6. jz-man
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    jz-man - January 27, 2013 5:15 pm
    You will be missed Ken!
  7. Alan Johnson
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    Alan Johnson - January 27, 2013 3:24 pm
    Never really knew Ken personally. I was a class behind him though at Sentinel and he was definitely a popular leader, both on field and off in high school, so I feel the loss, too, for the community as well as sports. I was happy for his success, both in real estate and in the sports industry. He was an assistant coach on my son's Little Grizzly team back in the 90s. Prayers and comfort to his family and may his soul rest in peace.
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    TMRMSLA - January 27, 2013 12:19 pm
    I was very sorry to hear about Ken's passing. On behalf of my Dad, Joe, and my family I am extending our condolences to Ken's family, friends and teammates, he was a special person and he will be missed, Tom Roberts, Spokane
  9. logic
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    logic - January 27, 2013 10:27 am
    One of the finest guys there was. Everybody loved Kenny. He has touched a lot of people and made their lives much better. Always tough, positive and NEVER complained! Can't imagine how much we will miss you. R.I.P. 'ol buddy!!
  10. Born Here
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    Born Here - January 27, 2013 10:10 am
    Adios old friend-
  11. Gianandrea and Jodi
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    Gianandrea and Jodi - January 27, 2013 9:12 am
    Mary and Family,
    We are so sorry for your loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers!
    Gianandrea and Jodi Borriello
  12. rexmt2
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    rexmt2 - January 27, 2013 8:41 am
    Rest in peace my friend and classmate of years gone by.
  13. maikeru1979
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    maikeru1979 - January 27, 2013 8:02 am
    Rest in Peace Ken. the people of missoula and of the NFL lost someone great
  14. MontanaAbe
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    MontanaAbe - January 27, 2013 12:38 am
    R.I.P. Ken - @be
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